Bagelman, the Brighton-based bagel chain, has put plans to franchise on hold as it instead looks to expand its portfolio of company-owned stores.

As first reported by M&C Allegra Foodservice, the company changed strategy due to company-owned stores offering greater flexibility to innovate.

Owner Anthony Prior said he would like to see two new stores open in 2016 with a third on the way, with possible sites including Chichester and Eastbourne. However, no sites have yet been confirmed.

He also said the company’s Ship Street store might move elsewhere in Brighton as the lease comes up for renewal.

He said: “We are very dense in that particular part of the city, so we want to reduce that density.”

Expansion will be chiefly funded through a crowdfunding initiative to be launched in February. It will be run through crowdfunding website Crowd2Fund and is expected to aim for a target of £160,000. Prior said the exact figure will be confirmed when new financial director Anna Prestwich, whose previous finance experience includes Starbucks, takes up her post at the beginning of February.

Bagelman is a bagel-focused food-to-go chain, running five-stores in Brighton and Hove. The company bakes its own bagels in a bakery behind its Bond Street branch and is due to celebrate its 20th anniversary this summer.